Friday, January 17, 2014

A message to STRS retirees from former CORE president Dave Parshall

From Dave Parshall
January 17, 2014
As you all know by now the error in the predicted unfunded liability will have to be made up. There are ways that this can be done and some questions that need to be asked.
1. What effect will the increased returns from our investments help to lessen the blow?  The market continues to roar.
2. Will STRS follow the other Ohio retirement systems and protect their older retirees with pension in the 30’s [$30,000 annual pension] or below?  Remember they have been taking it on the chin for years now.  Only STRS does this to their older retirees.  I was always told by STRS that this doesn’t matter because most of them have a second income.  This should have no bearing on the issue of fairness.  The fact is tens of thousands of retirees are totally or almost totally dependent on their pensions for survival.
3. One answer may be that if a retiree took advantage of the unearned 88% increase benefit, then they do not get a COLA until they are 70 years of age. It no longer makes sense that they should enjoy an enriched retirement at the expense of older retirees with much lower pensions but similar number years of teaching.
4. Ask school boards to pay more into the system.  If you sell this idea as protecting the older retirees, it must might have a chance.  Everyone knows that the 88%  pensions are draining the system. End the 88% option NOW!
5. Most active teachers today have been hit hard also, but they need a lesson in the history of their professions.  Most actives are now making 2 or 3 times what many of us older retirees made.  We could only dream about the kind of pension they will have, and at time when most Americans will have none, only their worthless 401 Ks.
6. Contact all STRS Board members with the above question or ones of your own. Younger retirees will see no problem because they are doing so well. Write ORTA as John did and ask that they take a stand to protect retirees and not just roll over for OEA. After decades of working to organize teachers for OEA in several districts and actually getting my school board to give us a written guaranteed contract, I still remember how shocked I was to discover that once retired, OEA does not give a hoot about you.  Why can’t ORTA see this?
7. By all means, vote in November. The folks who came after our pensions  just can’t wait to come after us again. Remember the party who, in a hearing, said that the state should pay our pension at 50 cents on the dollar? I think you know which party he was from. Please don’t vote against you own best interests!
Dave Parshall
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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